Tips for Effective Networking At Hospitality Events
In a digital world, hospitality offers an excellent opportunity to network and expand your contacts. Meeting new people and expanding your network is essential for business growth, but it can be challenging. Whether forming a better relationship with colleagues, clients, industry leaders or investors, hospitality is a great way to get to know people better. Getting to know people at the relaxed setting of a sport event such as Wimbledon can be a lot easier compared to more formal events. But how to master the art of networking effectively and confidently? Here are our top networking event tips:
Perfect your pitch
Can you explain what you do in no more than 20 seconds? If you answered yes, then you are on the right track! If not, come up with a couple of quick prompts that will get you going. Honing your elevator pitch is a great start for networking successfully. Your elevator pitch should answer at least the following questions: Who are you? What do you do? What do you want? If you’re not sure how to do it try writing everything down on a piece of paper and then pick and structure the most important points.
Don’t be afraid of unusual settings
If you thought the only way of making meaningful connections is by walking from guest to guest, think again! Sometimes it is easiest to break the ice in unusual places like the coat check or the queue for the bar.
Networking at a sport event
Big sport events are great for networking even if you are not an expert in the field. You don’t know much about rugby? Use it to your advantage and start a conversation by asking somebody about a specific rule or about their favourite team at the Guinness Six Nations. You are not familiar with Motorsport? No need to worry. You’ll get caught up in the excitement, for example at the London E-Prix and you will have plenty to talk about with your new business contacts.
Keep it informal. Networking is not about handing out as many business cards as possible, engage with people and keep it interesting. Treat your new contacts like new friends. After all, we are in a people business. If you charm them with your friendly persona they are more likely to continue the conversation after the event.
There is nothing worse than getting back to the office with a pocketful of business cards and no idea whose belongs to who. Scribble some notes on the back of their card to prompt you. For example, write down a memorable moment that you shared and which you can then use in the follow up email or phone call!
No one likes a show-off who is centre of attention. Ask your guest genuine questions. Listening is just as powerful as talking and will help you get to know your new contact. Plus, it will help you at the follow up!
Engage with people and be a connector
Keep eye contact with the people you meet and don’t rush through conversations. Focus on making solid connections and be friendly! Quality over quantity. There are very few professions in which it is useful to know loads of people in a superficial way. It will be far more helpful to give the people you meet at these events your full attention. Another way to make a connection meaningful is by helping people. If you introduce them to others that end up being helpful for them, they will be thankful to you.
Now that you have learnt all about networking at hospitality events there is only one last tip left: enjoy the occasion! After all, Hospitality can be a lot of fun, so relish the opportunity and take in the atmosphere. If you are relaxed the conversation will flow.